Braggadocio has long been a staple of rap music. From the culture’s inception up to now, the intrinsically boastful nature of hip-hop almost always manifests itself in the music. Emcees constantly battle to elevate themselves over not only their competitors but bystanders and hip-hop consumers as well — through truthful means or otherwise.
What’s funny is that the art of bragging is so ubiquitous, we rarely think much of it when we hear our favorite rappers flex about their cars, their jewelry, their houses, etc. Yet, only sometimes do we find a character whose pomposity and self-confidence is so outrageously bombastic that it’s almost impossible to ignore, or whose cockiness seems so genuine that it resonates with audiences beyond the simple flex.
Enter: Megan Thee Stallion.
I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that there isn’t a single rapper (at least that I’m aware of) that is as brazenly self-assured as Houston rapper/dancer/model/full-time college student Megan Thee Stallion, who often calls herself “Hot Girl Meg” and “The H-Town Hottie.” Her egotism is obvious by simply looking at the tracklist of her most recent mixtape, Tina Snow, and seeing song titles like “WTF I Want,” “Hot Girl,” “Big Ole Freak,” and “Cocky AF.” And once you actually hit play on the first song, “WTF I Want,” it doesn’t take long to figure out that that’s precisely what Megan Thee Stallion and her music are all about, as the listener hears on the first verse: “Today I woke up in my act / Look at these bitches they whack / Now look at Megan, she bad.”
In an interview with The FADER, Megan explained that the bold, in-your-face nature of her music is inspired by the braggadocious lyrics of some of her hip-hop influences — Pimp C and The Notorious B.I.G., to name a couple. “I really feel like if men can talk this much shit, women can too,” she said. So when Megan talks her shit with lines like “Shut the fuck up when I’m talking, ‘lil bitch / Put your head down when you talk to a pimp” on the song “Neva,” it’s abundantly clear that she has taken this philosophy to the booth.
On Tina Snow, which is a nickname she’s adopted based off of one of the multiple personalities of her idol and Houston legend Pimp C, Megan Thee Stallion completely kicks modesty all the way to the curb and indulges in 30 minutes of bass-rattling, bombastic, X-rated Southern hip-hop. Megan is brash, provocative, and uncensored, leaving little open for interpretation concerning her sexual exploits and even less to the imagination concerning how she views herself: she’s “the shit, and then some.” “Ain’t none of these hoes got shit on me / None of these hoes flow sick like me,” she raps on “Tina Montana,” the most lyrically raw song on the project. “Heard how I rap, wanna spit like me / Now all of these hoes wanna pimp like me.”
Megan Thee Stallion isn’t a pill that everyone can/should swallow, just like any other hip-hop artist. Those looking for lyrical gymnastics or subject matter that goes beyond mere hedonism and self-indulgence may be better off looking elsewhere. But while Megan Thee Stallion is no “lyrical spiritual miracle,” she succeeds in an area where many other rappers fail: engaging lyrics and an irresistible microphone presence. Megan’s cadence and flow are aggressive and captivating, and she has a penchant for quotables due to the aforementioned confrontational nature of her lyrics. Not every bar on Tina Snow may stick the landing, but the mixtape is chock-full of witty, explicit verses that I have no doubt go over very well at live performances.
And her confidence, once again, is no fluke. On Tina Snow, Megan has no problem continuously reaffirming her sexual appeal. When she says “Everything bout me poppin’ / Got face, I got body, you name it, I got it” on the appropriately titled “Cocky AF,” she’s not lying.
Tina Snow embodies — to a somewhat exaggerated extent — the impudent, competitive nature hip-hop music has always displayed, as Megan Thee Stallion wields her confidence like a powerful weapon.